The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet

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Overview

The Robot in the Garden initiates a critical theory of telerobotics and introduces telepistemology, the study of knowledge acquired at a distance. Many of our most influential technologies, the telescope, telephone, and television, were developed to provide knowledge at a distance. Telerobots, remotely controlled robots, facilitate action at a distance. Specialists use telerobots to explore actively environments such as Mars, the Titanic, and Chernobyl. Military personnel increasingly employ reconnaissance drones and telerobotic missiles. At home, we have remote controls for the garage door, car alarm, and television (the latter a remote for the remote).The Internet dramatically extends our scope and reach. Thousands of cameras and robots are now accessible online. Although the role of technical mediation has been of interest to philosophers since the seventeenth century, the Internet forces a reconsideration. As the public gains access to telerobotic instruments previously restricted to scientists and soldiers, questions of mediation,knowledge, and trust take on new significance for everyday life.Telerobotics is a mode of representation. But representations can misrepresent. If Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds" was the defining moment for radio, what will be the defining moment for the Internet? As artists have always been concerned with how representations provide us with knowledge, the book also looks at telerobotics' potential as an artistic medium.The seventeen essays, by leading figures in philosophy, art, history, and engineering, are organized into three sections: Philosophy; Art,History, and Critical Theory; and Engineering, Interface, and System Design.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
" The Robot in the Garden brings together some of the most profound thinkers currently writing about such issues as telepresence, internet art, and the status of the real in a virtual age. Moreover, they frequently disagree with one another, an indication of the intellectual vitality of this work. Ken Goldberg"s discussion of his pioneering work with robotic art sets the high standard that other distinguished contributors carry on, from Martin Jay to Eduardo Kac, Lev Manovich to Albert Borgmann. Don"t miss out on this important collection."N. Katherine Hayles , Professor of English, University of California, LosAngeles

" The Robot in the Garden brings together some of the most profound thinkerscurrently writing about such issues as telepresence, internet art, and the statusof the real in a virtual age. Moreover, they frequently disagree with oneanother, an indication of the intellectual vitality of this work. Ken Goldberg"sdiscussion of his pioneering work with robotic art sets the high standard thatother distinguished contributors carry on, from Martin Jay to EduardoKac, LevManovich to Albert Borgmann. Don"t miss out on this important collection." N.

Katherine Hayles , Professor of English, University of California, Los Angeles

" The Robot in the Garden brings together some of the most profound thinkers currently writing about such issues as telepresence, internet art, and the status of the real in a virtual age. Moreover, they frequently disagree with one another, an indication of the intellectual vitality of this work. Ken Goldberg"s discussion of his pioneering work with robotic art sets the high standard that other distinguished contributors carry on, from Martin Jay to Eduardo Kac, Lev Manovich to Albert Borgmann. Don"t miss out on this important collection."N. Katherine Hayles , Professor of English, University of California, LosAngeles

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262571548
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2001
  • Series: Leonardo Book Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Goldberg is Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and founder of the Art,Technology, and Culture Colloquium at the University of California, Berkeley. His Net art installations include "Dislocation of Intimacy," "Memento Mori," and "The Telegarden."

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword viii
Acknowledgments ix
Contributors xi
1. Introduction: The Unique Phenomenon of a Distance 2
2. Eden by Wire: Webcameras and the Telepresent Landscape 22
I Philosophy
3. Telepistemology: Descartes's Last Stand 48
4. Vicariousness and Authenticity 64
5. Information, Nearness, and Farness 90
6. Acting at a Distance and Knowing from Afar: Agency and Knowledge on the Internet 108
7. Telerobotic Knowledge: A Reliabilist Approach 126
II Art, History, and Critical Theory
8. The Speed of Light and the Virtualization of Reality 144
9. To Lie and to Act: Potemkin's Villages, Cinema, and Telepresence 164
10. Dialogical Telepresence and Net Ecology 180
11. Presence, Absence, and Knowledge in Telerobotic Art 198
12. Exposure Time, the Aura, and Telerobotics 214
13. The History of Telepresence: Automata, Illusion, and the Rejection of the Body 226
III Engineering, Interface, and System Design
14. Feeling Is Believing: A History of Telerobotics 246
15. Tele-Embodiment and Shattered Presence: Reconstructing the Body for Online Interaction 276
16. Being Real: Questions of Tele-Identity 296
17. Telepistemology, Mediation, and the Design of Transparent Interfaces 312
IV Postscript
18. The Film and the New Psychology (1945) 332
Index 347
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2001

    Agency and Knowledge on the Internet & Telepistemology

    The anthology of Prof. Ken Goldberg discusses the questions such as What is the essential relationship between distance and knowledge? How to technologies affect this relationship? How does technology alter our perceptions of distance and scale and our understanding of truth? What are the limits to the new technologies and how do they depend on existing human perceptual, cognitive and active capacities? How much can a human being change, even when equipped with an armory of telerobotic apparatus and how much can the concept of being human change? 'The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology on the Net' documents the projects and provokes thought with critical essays on its philosophical and cultural implications. Prof. Hubert Dreyfus in his essay on 'Telepistemology: Descartes' Last Stand' raises the questions as, Are the new ways that we have of communicating with one another -- teleconferencing, telecomuting, telerobots and internet web cams --- resurrecting the skeptical doubts that Descartes had raised and which we thought we had overcome? The book is highly recommended to philosophers, media artists and robotics engineers.

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